Minnesota Workplace Sexual Harassment

Those in Minnesota who have experienced sexual harassment while at work may be eligible to pursue an employment law claim against their employer.

Through this claim, you can recoup compensation for your damages suffered because of the harassment. There are state and federal laws enacted to protect you – the worker – from being discriminated against because of your race, gender, or sexual orientation. Here are some answers to some of the more common questions associated with workplace sexual harassment in Minnesota.

What kind of discrimination laws are in place in Minnesota?

The Minnesota Human Rights Act allows an individual to pursue a hostile work environment claim for sexual harassment.

To have a successful claim, you must show that you were a victim of unwelcome behavior or conduct, and that behavior included sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical conduct, or other verbal or sexual conduct that is unwelcome and inappropriate. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also offers extra protection to workers.

What is Considered Sexual Harassment?

A single event is not considered sexual harassment. For a successful claim, you must show there is an ongoing problem or prove there was a continuous issue.

Be sure to thoroughly document the situation and consistently gather supporting evidence. While sometimes sexual harassment is obvious, there are times when it is discreet.

Sexual harassment could include unwelcome sexual advances, requesting sexual favors, and verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Any gender-related harassment is prohibited.

An isolated incident or some off-hand comments or teasing would not warrant a sexual harassment claim. If there are multiple incidents and it leads to a hostile work environment, you have the basis of a Minnesota workplace sexual harassment claim.

How is it Covered by Law in Minnesota?

Minnesota law prohibits sexual harassment against any employees. No employers or employment-related organizations are not allowed to retaliate against a person who has opposed practices that were forbidden by the Minnesota Human Rights Act or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If an employee was sexually harassed against at work, they have basis for a claim and can ask to be compensated for their damages. 

Where To File A Workplace Sexual Harassment Claim In Minnesota

If you were a victim of workplace sexual harassment on the job in Minnesota, notify your employer to file a workplace sexual harassment claim in a timely fashion.

Collect pertinent evidence, including copies of documentation and statements from witnesses. Look up the details in your employee handbook because it should have the company guidelines for filing a complaint.

Some employers do not have a sexual harassment complaint process per say but start the process with your employer by meeting with the HR department or explaining the situation with a supervisor.

Document filing the complaint, keep all correspondence, and document the response.  If the issue does not get settled, take your claim to the next level by filing a complaint with a government organization that enforces the state employment laws or Title VII, which could be a state office or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Your claim will be investigated by an assigned representative. If the matter is not resolved, you can file a federal lawsuit against your employer to recover compensation for your damages.  

How Long Do I Have To File A Sexual Harassment Claim In Minnesota?

Federal law gives a 180-day time limit for pursuing a sexual harassment claim against an employer. However, the state laws in Minnesota extend that time limit to 300 days.

If you wait until the timeframe has passed, you cannot recover compensation for your damages. You should act in a timely manner and start gathering evidence right away, so you are prepared to show what happened.

Getting Help Filing A Sexual Harassment Claim in Minnesota

If you are a victim of Minnesota workplace sexual harassment, speak with an employment law attorney who handles sexual harassment cases.

Employment law attorneys are familiar with the state and federal laws that apply to your situation. The lawyer will know the best way to proceed with your claim, gather supporting evidence and documentation, and determine the damages you suffered because of the sexual harassment.

When you meet with a lawyer, discuss their payment because some lawyers do require a retainer and charge an hourly rate while other lawyers take claims on a contingency basis. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form to share the details with a Minnesota employment law attorney.

Additional Resources